Broome County executive candidates square off in debate
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- They've gone back and forth through the media, but Thursday night, the candidates in the Broome County Executive race finally met face to face.
The one and only televised debate between incumbent Debbie Preston and Democratic challenger Tarik Abdelazim was staged at Broome Community College.
The lecture hall where it was held was packed to capacity, as was the overflow room where people watched on TV. Dozens of others were turned away at the door.
As for the candidates, they discussed topics ranging from jobs and the economy to fracking and flood mitigation.
Preston spent time highlighting her accomplishments since taking office, meanwhile, Abdelazim stayed on the attack, as he has for much of the campaign, accusing his opponent of being dishonest and not keeping promises.
The exchange got heated at times, especially when discussing the future of the County operated Willow Point Nursing Home.
Preston said, "She never had a silver spoon in her mouth, nor did I. So she didn't have the money to pay, so she needed to go there. And I will never take that safety net away from the Broome County seniors. So say what you want, and I do get a little upset. You want to take it out on me on anything, leave my employees out of it."
"My father came to this country,” Abdelazim started to say.
Preston interrupted him, saying, “What did I say about your family?”
Abdelazim continued, “Born with a silver spoon in his mouth? I'm not going to allow you to dismiss my father's hard work and decades of contributions to this community. Through his hard work and his commitment, he provided for all of his children."
The current administration has been looking to contract out physical therapy service at the nursing home, which would cost 12 people their jobs. Abdelazim opposes that plan, saying he's worried quality of care would suffer under that proposal.